For this Christmas, my boyfriend and I decided to have a little escapade from the cold and to spend it with my family in Mexico! So unfortunately, that means no “Traditional Swedish Christmas” blog this year. But at the same time, this situation inspired me to make a list of the biggest differences between Swedish and Mexican Christmas. Hope you enjoy it!
1- The most important thing: Food
In Mexico, there is not fixed food tradition. Mexican families tend to keep it simple and have turkey or cod as main dish, accompanied by salad or other side dishes. If the family is really traditional, some dishes or drinks that will probably be served are tamales, mole, romeritos, atole, champurrado, ponche, buñuelos, apple and marshmallow salad (I know, it sounds really weird), among others.
In Sweden: Julbod is all you need
The word Julbord, which literally means Christmas table, is a must for every Swedish-style Christmas. It looks like a buffet composed of different kinds of Swedish dishes such as meatballs, pickled herring, salmon, different kinds of potato dishes, sausages, cheese, hard boiled eggs, Christmas ham, etc. Although the idea is to eat julbord with your family while celebrating Christmas Eve, many workplaces have julbord during the companies’ Christmas celebration, and even some restaurants offer julbord as a seasonal specialty.
Julbord by Magnus D (CC by 2.0) and Panuchos, a Mexican dish that my family prepares every Christmas.
2- Singing and dancing
In Mexico: Latinos + Dance = <3
Christmas, as any other party in Mexico, requires hours and hours of music. Banda, rancheras, pop, electronic, rock, the genre doesn’t matter, but the louder and happier the better! Also, dancing is a must, even if you are not the most graceful dancer.
In Sweden: Foxes in the ice and frogs with funny tails
Unlike Mexicans, Swedes seem to enjoy a quieter type of Christmas. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t engage on singing and dancing! In a traditional Swedish home, at some point of the night, all family members will stand up and form a circle around the Christmas tree and start singing while moving in circles. Some of the most famous Christmas songs are about a fox running across the ice, and about how funny small frogs are to look at.
3- Piñata, fireworks and Donald duck
In Mexico: dale dal dale no pierdas el tino〜
Piñatas are a common sight on several occasions: during birthdays, parties, and of course, Christmas. Christmas piñatas are usually a seven-pointed star, with each of the points corresponding to one of the seven deadly sins. So, when you break the piñata, it means that you are destroying evil. Fireworks, firecrackers and Bengal lights are also lit during the festivities.
In Sweden: Donald duck, a Christmas favorite!
Swedes don’t light fireworks during Christmas time –those are reserved for New Years—and they most certainly not get candy after hitting a star shaped piñata! On the other hand, people religiously watch Disney’s Christmas special, also known as Kalle Ankas Julafton (Donald duck’s Christmas).
Traditional piñata and some Swedish Kalle Ankas Julafton
Piñata by Pulpolux!!! (CC BY-NC 2.0) and Första Kalle Ankas Jul by Jonas Forth (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Disclaimer: Everything written in this blog is based on my boyfriend’s and my own experiences during our time in each other’s countries (Sweden and Mexico). I also think it is important to note that every family is unique and has their own special traditions, which is beautiful 🙂
I wish you liked this post and I wish you a happy Christmas!